Since the beginning of the hobby of gaming, there has always been a strong contingent of DIY resources. A lot of effort went into taking military gaming guides like Totten’s Strategos and converting them for use in tabletop wargames. Translating complex material for easy reference by others is one of the best aspects of tabletop games.

Dungeons and Dragons history is filled with homebrew rules and resource guides. Some of these are simple and useful like a Skills Guide and alternative DM Screens. Some are rare, unique resources that you never knew you needed until you saw them.

Spell Component Spreadsheet

Magic in DnD5e is complex. Each spell has a combination of material components, spoken components, and somatic (big word basically meaning body based, which D&D interprets as hand gestures). Often these components are forgotten about or even ignored in the course of combat.

The material components are the most interesting and varied. A massive spreadsheet was crafted in 2017 which collected the details about each spell and the material components related to the spell.

Material Spell Components in D&D 5e

Yes, this can be used to quickly reference the different material components used in a spell, but it also serves as a guide for potential quests, as potential treasure, or as an easy way to explain why certain spells aren’t cast as often as you think they should be.d

This was assembled by T.R. Appleton who writes and creates a lot of D&D material and you can check out his work at

Cheat Sheet

A Dungeon Master juggles a lot of number in her head and any tool helping sort out some of the complex elements. Knowing the basic stats of each of the players allows the DM to make some quick decisions.

Updated Cheat Sheet

I unfortunately do not know who is behind this resource, but it provides a quick reference to see if a skill necessary for an adventure is represented by the adventuring group. It also allows the DM to determine if an encounter is suitable for the adventuring group or not. This aspect of the
tool is very useful when creating a random encounter, just to make sure the DM doesn’t

Combat Guide

While D&D is a roleplaying game, its origins are based in wargaming which makes combat a focus of most of the rules. Running combat in Fifth Edition is not complicated but it can get confusing with Actions, Bonus Actions, Movement, and Reactions. There is a lot that happens in 6 seconds.

The Quick Combat Guide is a handy resource to give to players to help them sort out what they are able to do when their turn comes up.

Quick Combat Guide

The guide is maintained by Robert Autenrieth who has a few resources for D&D you should check out.

Store Inventory

This sounds like a set up for a joke. A ranger, a cleric, and a barbarian walk into a shop and ask the shopkeeper, “What do you have for sale?” The DM responds, “What are you looking for?”

And so begins a shopping session that will last longer than anyone actually wants. D&D is not an economy simulator and issues of the basics of supply and demand are hard to demonstrate in the prices of goods in a store. This is where a store builder comes in handy.

Store Builder

Since there isn’t an economy simulator for D&D, pricing is really always based on the money available to the players, so you can tweak all the pricing. What is nice is having all the goods generated. A bit more randomness in what is available would be nice, but you can remove items easier than you can add items from lists like these.

Character Background

Writing a character’s backstory is a daunting process. You are looking to get enough details in there that the character feels grounded, properly motivated, but not so much detail that you end up writing a full novel.

Sometimes you just need a jumping off point and that is where’ Life Gen comes in.

This Is Your Life

Detailing parents, siblings, and major life events. You can edit this down or add to it to suit the details of the campaign you are playing, but it is a huge relief to get a starting point to crafting a character background.

Published by Sean D. Francis

Sean D. Francis is a technologist, writer, and geek. He podcasts, makes video, and dabbles in all the geeky genres including horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.